Ospreys sweep Aironi aside
September 25, 2010
Lee Byrne crossed for the Ospreys in a straightforward win over Aironi in Swansea
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The Ospreys picked up a bonus point from a home win over Italian opposition for the second time this season as they racked up five tries in a facile 38-6 victory over struggling Aironi at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday evening.
Former Newport Gwent Dragons wing Richard Fussell dotted early before a penalty try and a touchdown from Lee Byrne just before the interval helped the region into a commanding 24-6 half-time lead. The Ospreys, whose only previous win this season had been an equally straightforward rout of Treviso, forced their visitors into the concession of another penalty try before Tommy Bowe completed the scoring when he dived over on 69 minutes.
The reigning champions had been by no means at their best. Indeed, they were frustrated for long periods, particularly in the first half. They enjoyed a wealth of possession in the opening 40 minutes but they made a succession of unforced errors. Their quest for fluency was not aided, though, by the loss of flanker Ben Lewis to a serious-looking neck injury.
The Ospreys looked on their way to a comfortable victory as early as the seventh minute when Fussell crossed after the home side had won good ball at a line-out from their captain Alun Wyn Jones. But after that, dropped balls and forward passes stopped the Ospreys completely dominating the scoreboard. Fly-half Dan Biggar did put over a penalty goal on 18 minutes but that was immediately cancelled out by his opposite number Riccardo Bocchino.
It took the sin-binning of flanker Josh Sole, who tackled Jerry Collins off the ball, to open the way for the Ospreys' second try. That came with a penalty try after the Italian side were penalised three times at a five-metre scrum.
Bocchino closed the gap briefly with a penalty goal from near halfway but the Ospreys finished the half with a converted try for Byrne, who was put over by fellow British & Irish Lion Shane Williams. The hosts continued to make hard work of things in the third quarter but they earned themselves another penalty try on 65 minutes, with former Italy captain Marco Bortolami picking up a yellow card in the process. That took the pressure off for the Ospreys, who went in for a fifth try four minutes later when Bowe crossed after a break up the middle of the field by No.8 Jonathan Thomas.